Have you dreamed of living on a secluded, relaxing island where the average temperature year-round is in the 70’s, you’re surrounded by sunny beaches and warm waters and the natives are as friendly as any you’ll meet anywhere?   If that’s your dream, you should become familiar with Anna Maria Island.

Anna Maria Island is one of the many barrier islands off the west coast of Florida, this one off the Coast of Manatee County.  It is a narrow strip of land about 7 miles long.  It is bounded on the north by the waters of Tampa Bay, on the west by the Gulf of Mexico along some of the nicest beaches in Florida, on the south by Longboat Key and on the east by Anna Maria Sound and across a causeway, the city of Bradenton Florida.

Anna Maria Island is divided into three cities; Anna Maria to the north, Holmes Beach in the center and Bradenton Beach on the southern end of the island.  The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the island has about 9,000 permanent residents.  Each of the three cities has spectacular beaches which attract many tourists but each city strives to preserve that “Old Florida” feeling.  They do it by limiting the size and height of buildings that can be built.  You’ll find no high-rise condo developments on this island.

Whether you fantasize about a million-dollar waterfront villa, a tastefully restored older home,  a rustic beach cottage or even a home in an upscale golf course community, (yes, there are golf course homes on Anna Maria Island),  Anna Maria Island can fulfill your fantasy as long as you want to fulfill that fantasy in a peaceful,  even placid, place where the term “laid back” really means something;  where, for example, from  May through October, giant sea turtles come ashore to find quiet places to nest.

About that golf course community we mentioned.  It’s called Key Royale.  Within the city limits of Holmes Beach in the center of the island, Key Royale is one of Florida’s most prestigious communities.  It is actually a small island of its own attached to Anna Maria Island proper by the small Key Royale Bridge.  If, in addition to enjoying a round of golf on a 9-hole par 32 course and its lovely clubhouse, you are also a boater, this may be the place for you.  Every home in Key Royale is either directly on the waterfront or has canal access to open waters.

The city of Holmes Beach, itself, is the largest of the three communities on Anna Maria Island and it boasts three miles of gorgeous white, sandy beaches.  While there has been pressure in recent years to take more advantage of tourism, the city tries to maintain its rustic flavor through attention to the types of buildings and homes permitted.  Home types in Holmes Beach include single-family homes, maintenance-free condos and villas offered in architectural styles from Old Key West to Bimini and Grand Cayman.

On the southern end of the island, Bradenton Beach is ideal if you want the casual ambiance of a secluded waterfront village.  Gulf-side homes enjoy gorgeous Gulf of Mexico sunsets while natural mangroves accentuate homes of the bay side of Bradenton Beach.   In the middle is a charming village famous for its ultra-casual beachcomber lifestyle.

At the northern end of the island, the city of Anna Maria is a quiet, serene place most of the year with narrow roads and little traffic.  The entire city is a protected bird sanctuary.  In the waters off its beaches, you are as likely to run into a manatee as another swimmer.  The city of Anna Maria was named by Forbes magazine as one of America's "10 Prettiest Cities."

For transportation, most locals get around Anna Maria Island on the trolley system that runs the length of the island with connections to bus service on both Longboat Key and across the causeway to Bradenton.  To leave the island, a bridge at the southern end of the island connects to Longboat Key, the Cortez Bridge connects Bradenton Beach to the mainland at Cortez and the Manatee Avenue Bridge connects Holmes Beach to the mainland in the Palma Sola section of Bradenton.

When you wish to spruce up your days or evenings, you are a short causeway away from the mainland city of Bradenton Florida, the largest city and county seat of Manatee County. In addition to being home to some of the finest golf courses in Florida, Bradenton also offers every type of boating, fishing and sailing activity. But there is more. There is an almost constant flow of family-focused activities and events going on.  Bradenton is as bustling and vibrant as Anna Maria Island is serene and laid back.  Bradenton is also home to two major health care facilities, Blake Medical Center and Manatee Memorial Hospital.

Perhaps, the strangest thing about this delightful little barrier island is how few Americans seem to know about it although Europeans have definitely discovered it.  We believe that after a single visit to Anna Maria Island, you, too, will refer to Anna Maria Island as “that Little Island Paradise in the Sun.”

As a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist, my goal is to help you find that one home or condo here in the Sarasota - Bradenton area that fits your needs and desires perfectly whether it’s on the mainland, on Longboat, Lido, Bird, Siesta or Casey Key or on Anna Maria Island.  Please call me with your questions or inquiries at 941.232.4053.

Posted by Andree Huffine on
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